Text color and comprehension
The materials required for the science fair project experiment:
- 5 essays of equal difficulty and 10 questions about each essay.
- A personal computer
- A color printer
- white paper
- 10 male students age 12
- 10 female students age 12
- A stopwatch
- A quiet examination room
- An assistant to help coordinate the tests
1. For this science fair project, the independent variable is the color of the text used to print the essays and the10 questions – black, red, blue or green. Ensure that you use a fairly dark shade of red, blue or green otherwise the essays printed in these colors may be illegible. The dependent variable is the results of the test. This is determined by marking and grading the essays. The constants (control variables) are the difficulty of the tests, the number of questions, the time alloted to read the comprehension passage, and the time allotted to answer the questions.
2. The 5 essays each contain about 300 words and of equal difficulty, are selected. Ten simple questions for each essay are also prepared. The essays and questions are typed into the computer and the color of the text for each essay is set to black, red, blue or green. 20 copies of each essay and questions are printed out in color.
3. Model answers are prepared for grading the essays after the test is completed.
4. On the day of the test, all 20 students are brought into the examination hall. The essay printed in black color text is distributed to the students. The students are given only 20 minutes to read the essay and to answer the 10 questions. After 20 minutes, the essay and answers from the students are collected and graded.
5. The students are given a 15-minute rest. After their rest, the essays and questions printed in red color are distributed and the students are given only 20 minutes to complete the test. After the 20 minutes are up, the essay and answers are collected to be graded.
6. Procedure 5 is repeated using the essay and questions printed in blue and green.
7. All 4 essay papers are marked and graded using the model answers. The results of the test for the 10 boys and the 10 girls are totaled for each color and recorded in the table given below.
Basic safety requirements